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Terry Ownby holds one of the outdated horns (at left) of Florence High School's band equipment along a new one (at right) such as they will be getting, along with other equipment for the "Big Blue" band. [JIM HANNON/TIMESDAILY]

FLORENCE — The Florence High School "Big Blue" marching band will soon be the recipient of 34 new instruments.

The school system's board of education last week agreed to purchase the instruments –trumpets, trombones, concert tubas, clarinets and concert baritones – to replace several old ones, some more than 30 years old.

"There's only so much you can do with instruments once they get that old," said Florence Band Director Terry Ownby, adding that other instruments that aren't quite as old will be refurbished.

The board's purchase is in the amount of $46,112. Repayment of the money will be made by the band boosters in annual installments over the next five years.

"We're just so appreciative to our upper administration for this opportunity to purchase these much-needed instruments at the current price," Ownby said. "There's a zero percent interest rate and you can't beat that deal."

The refurbished instruments will benefit the middle school band program as well.

Florence Schools Superintendent Jimmy Shaw said as the band program grows, so does its needs.

"The need to help provide instruments is really just providing an opportunity for our students to be successful," Shaw said.

Ownby said the band, in the three years of his tenure there, has grown by 30 students, going from 100 members to 130 this fall.

"With growth comes these types of issues and it's a good problem to have," he said. 

Shaw said that having a growing and thriving band program means having children who are also growing and thriving. 

"Having to help find funds to provide the tools needed for students to participate is a great problem to have," he said.

"These new instruments will mean that a barrier to student growth and success has been greatly diminished."


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